Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chicken Fried Rice

On Thursday nights, Ben hangs out with the guys and I usually relax with the ladies.  We call it craft night but really we get together, drink wine and enjoy each other's company.  Sometimes we go out but mostly we gather at someone's house and the host will make a main dish while the rest of us bring sides, dessert and wine.  I tend to prepare spicy chicken soups and robust stews, but I recall one memorable evening when one of the girls' made carne asada.

Unlike the ladies, guys' night almost always involves take-out and the dregs of the pizza, Chinese or Indian appear in our fridge the next morning.  Recently Ben brought home pork fried rice, and while it was delicious, it made both of us horribly sick!

Now, I love fried rice and wasn't going to let that take-out disaster define my fried rice experience, so I decided to make my own.  This recipe is a concoction of what I had in the fridge and is a bit fresher than traditional restaurant fried rice.  I use high-heat safflower or sunflower oil for any cooking above medium heat, because unlike olive oil, high heat safflower or sunflower oil doesn't oxidize at those temperatures and still provides healthy polyunsaturated fats.

Try this recipe as I've written it or make your own additions!  I bet this would be lovely with fish sauce instead of soy sauce--and lots more veggies!

Chicken Fried Rice

1 cup brown rice, 2 cups water

2 tsp high heat safflower oil
1 chicken breast, thinly sliced

1/2 onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
1/8 tsp chili flakes
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce or wheat-free tamari
Hot chili oil to taste

  1. Bring water to a boil, add brown rice, cover; reduce to simmer and cook until tender.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat 1 tsp safflower oil until shimmering and add thinly sliced chicken.  Cook quickly, stirring frequently until cooked through.  Remove chicken to a bowl and cover.
  3. In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tsp safflower oil over medium heat and add onion and carrots, cooking until tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add chili flakes, garlic, and ginger and cook until fragrant but not burned, about 20 seconds.
  5. Add rice, peas, cooked chicken, pineapple juice, soy sauce and hot chili oil.  Turn the heat up slightly and let cook until slightly fried.

Serve with sake or warm jasmine tea.


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